Texas Hold em – Tournament vs Cash Games

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 30,410
    Professional poker players demonstrate how to play poker, specifically Texas hold em and tournament versus cash games.

    Rick Rahim:I am Rick Rahim, Founder of the Executive Poker Tour here with Rhett Butler, professional poker player on the Executive Poker Tour. We are talking today about how to play, No Limit Texas Hold em and Rhett, let us talk about the difference between Tournament play and a Cash Game.

    Rhett Butler:That is a good question Rick. A lot of people watch poker tournaments on TV now and they think that is the way hands are played with people moving all in very quickly and that is not exactly the basis of the Tournament Play. It is a long drawn out process and Cash Game is quite simply different because it is the same stakes and you can either leave when you want, cash out when you want. And what we are going to discuss now, is the strategy involved in the Tournament play.

    Rick Rahim:So Rhett, in the 2006 World Series of Poker, you won $3.2 million but you only risked $10, 000, meaning you and 8700 other players each brought in for $10, 000 dollars, all of that money went into a pool and then all of the players played down until the final percentage of players that got paid. You made it all the way down to fifth place out of 8700 players beating 8700 players, it is pretty remarkable. But, to win the $3.2 million that you won, really your risk was put in $10, 000 lose and walk away or see how far I can get in the tournament and how much money I can win.

    Rhett Butler:Exactly, with tournament play, you know what you are getting into, it might be 1000 or it might be 5000, it might be 10000, it might $50 but you are putting up that amount of money; that is what you can lose. The difference is, it's based on the number of entries in the tournament and where you are placed. You need to come in the top 10 percent, in most tournaments to get paid anything to get any type of reward for your time and effort.

    Rick Rahim:So, for example, of the 8700 players that played in the World Series of Poker, about 800 and some cashed or found themselves in the money meaning they won back more than the $10,000 they put in.

    Rhett Butler:Exactly. Rick Rahim:The other 8000 and change or 7900 players basically walked away with nothing and lost their $10,000 buy in. Rhett Butler:And 90% of the field participates and gets nothing. There is no sponsor money in these; it is all the players' money. Rick Rahim:Okay. So in the tournament, we buy in for a set fee or set buy-in, an entry fee and we play until we are either knocked out of the poker tournament, meaning, we have lost all of our chips or we continue to play all the way to the end and either take first place and the grand prize and sometimes the trophy or at some point along the way, we get knocked out and if we make it high enough in the chain, we will get a prize proportionate to the position where we got knocked out or the place that we got knocked out in. That means that you are in all or nothing proposition, versus a cash game Rhett, where I can walk in any casino or sit down any night at my friend's house, come with however much money I want, sit down and start to play poker knowing that if I need to go home in an hour, I can pick up, leave and I am either won a certain amount of money and I leave with that money or I have lost a certain amount of money but I can get up and leave and take whatever I have got left. Rhett Butler:That is a good thing. You are not bound by time in a cash game. Typically, you are bound by have you won or lost enough or you are just done playing. In a tournament, you are forced to play until either you can not hand them more chips or until you have all the chips. So there is a big difference.

    Rick Rahim:But in a cash game, I can sit down whether it is with $5 or $50, play with my friends. If I double my money in one big had, I can say "I have won enough for the night, I am going to get up and go home", take my winnings immediately and leave or if I lose a big hand, I can say that is it for me, I am done. Or I can take more money out of my pocket and continue to play. In a tournament Rhett, once I have busted out or lost all of my chips, typically, and there is not an exception, with river or turn, but typically I am done and I can not buy back in and there is quite a bit of difference. So, overall, in a cash game, I could sit down any time of the day, any day of the week, play or win - play for as long as I want - win or lose and leave. I can treat it as a business or as a recreational activity versus a tournament is more of a contest.

    Rhett Butler:Exactly. I mean a poker tournament you are playing for position. You are trying to beat a large number of people and in a cash game you just want to get more money than you started with or try to win as much as you possibly can obviously but it is not trying to come in first far as long as you win. In a cash game, the biggest difference between cash and tournament is that the cash game, the blinds and antes, whatever they might be almost always stay the same and never change and in tournament, the longer you will play, the blinds and antes keep going up. So you have to get a little more aggressive towards the end and you normally would in a regular game where everything stays same. Rick Rahim:And that is why on TV, we sometimes see people going all in with less than the best hand; it's because they have to make a move, because they are running out of time and they are running out of chips. So there you have it, the difference between cash and tournament is that in a cash game, you can sit down, have a profit target, when you meet that target, you are free to get up and leave, you can also have a stop loss and you might sit down with a $100 and decide, but if I lose $25, I will get up and keep myself 75 and change and leave. That is the beauty of cash games. You can play at your leisure versus poker tournaments are little more rigid and once you buy in for all the money, you must play to the end and either win money or go broke and walk away with nothing.

    In our next statement, we are going to talk more with Rhett about advanced strategies - bluffing, check raising and more importantly when to fold in poker.